Evaluations & Testing

Neuropsychological & Psychoeducational Evaluations

Neuropsychological and Psychoeducational evaluations are comprehensive assessments of  cognitive, academic, and/or social-emotional functioning that help answer a number of clinical questions about a child or adult. Answering these questions helps provide a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses and a “road map” that identifies crucial recommendations. These recommendations can include types of treatment that are needed to help with presenting issues, remedial interventions, specific strategies, and necessary accommodations or modifications (e.g., extended time). While neuropsychological and psychoeducational evaluations overlap in many ways, CLICK HERE to see the differences between these two evaluation approaches.

Evaluations may be conducted to explore the following areas or underlying issues:

  • Learning Disabilities, learning differences, and academic difficulties
  • Dyslexia and other reading problems
  • Mathematics disorders
  • Written language difficulty
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Executive functioning deficits
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Genetic disorders, developmental disorders, intellectual disability
  • Emotional, behavioral, or social difficulties
  • Giftedness
  • Nonverbal learning weaknesses (e.g., visual processing, problem-solving)
  • Neurological conditions affecting cognitive/academic functioning (e.g., traumatic brain injury, cancer, epilepsy)

Common reasons to seek an evaluation include:

  • Educational planning – to help make decisions about schools and services that will be a good fit for your child; determine if a child may be eligible for services at their school 
  • Inform the development of an Individualized Education Plan or 504 plan
  • To guide therapeutic services, which could include psychotherapy, speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, tutoring, etc.
  • To determine if one may qualify for accommodations and modifications for standardized tests (e.g., SAT, ACT, LSAT, MCAT) or in the classroom
  • To assess if someone meets criteria for a particular diagnosis (e.g., AD/HD, dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder)
  • To evaluate one’s cognitive, academic, and/or emotional functioning after an injury has occurred (e.g., traumatic brain injury)
  • To provide documentation for accommodations at colleges and universities and/or gain access to support programs.
  • To provide documentation for eligibility for supports and services through the department of developmental services

What is involved in a Neuropsychological or Psychoeducational evaluation?

The amount of testing needed varies depending on the individual and the reasons for having an evaluation. For children and adolescents, an evaluation entails the following: 

  • A parent consultation to discuss the primary concerns, the goals of the assessment, and relevant background information
  • 1 to 3 testing sessions using interactive paper and pencil tests
  • Administration of parent, teacher, and self-report questionnaires
  • A parent feedback session where results, impressions, and recommendations are discussed, and a comprehensive, user-friendly written report is provided
  • Depending on the age of the child, a patient feedback session may also be scheduled

We also perform testing for adults who may be struggling with higher education, occupational attainment, emotional functioning, or have questions of cognitive functioning related to a particular medical condition (e.g., traumatic brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis). An adult evaluation has the following components: 

  • An interview to obtain relevant history and determine the goals of the evaluation. Many patients prefer to bring a family member to provide additional perspective. 
  • For some evaluations, testing can occur on the same day as the interview and be completed in one day. Other evaluations may require testing over the course of multiple days
  • A feedback session, where results, impressions, and recommendations are discussed, is provided on a different date. A written report is provided at the feedback session

Evaluations assess some or all of the following higher-level brain functions:

  • Intellectual Functioning
  • Attention, Concentration, Processing Speed
  • Executive Functioning (e.g., planning, organization, impulse control, problem-solving)
  • Learning and Memory
  • Visuospatial processing
  • Language
  • Sensorimotor functions
  • Academic skills (i.e., reading, writing, mathematics)
  • Social-emotional functioning and personality

What is the difference between a psychoeducational and neuropsychological evaluation?

In many ways, psychoeducational and neuropsychological evaluations are more alike than they are different. They both involve testing of one’s underlying cognitive, emotional, and sometimes academic skills to help determine diagnosis and guide planning to improve functioning in a particular area. They typically involve the use of similar testing instruments. For many cases, such as questions of learning disabilities or ADHD, either evaluation approach may be appropriate.

The main difference between these two evaluations is that a neuropsychological evaluation is performed by a clinical neuropsychologist and a psychoeducational evaluation is performed by a clinical psychologist with experience in psychological testing. Neuropsychologists are licensed psychologists with expertise in brain-behavior relationships and have specialized training in testing (a two-year postdoctoral fellowship) and education in neuroanatomy, cognitive processing, and central nervous system disorders. They apply their knowledge of brain-behavior relationships to understand patients’ underlying cognitive issues and how they can impact functioning.

For patients with significant medical or neurological factors that may be affecting cognitive functioning, emotional development, and/or academics, a  neuropsychological evaluation is likely a better fit.  Examples include the following:

  • History of prenatal, perinatal, or postnatal complications
  • Neurological disease, traumatic brain injury, concussion, or other contributing medical conditions
  • Genetic disorders

A full neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation is not required in all cases. For some individuals, a targeted evaluation, such as an Academic Update Evaluation, Literacy Evaluation, or AD/HD evaluation is more sensible. For children with concerns of developmental delays in multiple areas (e.g., cognitive skills, academics, motor skills, speech), then a multidisciplinary evaluation may be more appropriate.

Multidisciplinary Evaluations

When parents are concerned that their child’s development is delayed across multiple areas of functioning, such as cognitive, academic, motor, sensory, and/or language functioning, an evaluation by an interdisciplinary team of specialists (psychologist, speech and language therapist, and occupational therapist) is indicated to assess, clarify, and diagnose the problem. 

Because this type of evaluation involves several types of clinicians, the Sasco River Center is uniquely qualified to conduct this type of in-depth assessment with the goal of giving parents and schools a clear understanding of a child’s needs and a road map to address those needs.

This is our most comprehensive evaluation, meant to cover several interrelated and critical areas of a child’s development (cognitive ability, communication skills, educational ability, speech/language motor functioning and sensory integration). Every assessment results in a report that is clear, actionable, and delivered in a timely manner. 

The Sasco River Center also works closely with many other excellent clinical practices in Fairfield County and would be happy to provide suggestions for other experts in the area. 

Targeted Evaluations

Academic Update Evaluation

When a psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluation has already been performed in the past, a follow-up assessment is often necessary to assess the child’s progress in certain academic, cognitive, or emotional areas. For this reason, we provide targeted Academic Update Evaluations that derive data-driven recommendations for follow-up services or to help make important decisions. An Academic Update Evaluation re-administers some of the measuring instruments used on the prior evaluation to discover progress in one, more than one, or all academic, behavioral, or psychological areas of development.

An Academic Update Evaluation can:

  • Assess progress from previous treatment and remedial interventions
  • Quantify academic progress in all or specific subjects
  • Use data to make decisions for continued treatment, class selection or school selection, or summer foundational work
  • Prioritize future interventions or forms of remediation

The Process:

  1. Call The Sasco River Center to schedule an Intake that will explore your concerns
  2. Deliver the previous Psychoeducational Evaluation to The Sasco River Center
  3. Work with the Psychologist to clearly identify the questions that you would like answered

Sensory Processing / OT / Speech / PT

See more information in our OT/Sensory Processing Section

Speech / Language Evaluations

See more information in our Speech & Language Section

Listening Assessment

See more information in our OT/Sensory Processing Section

Literacy and Language evaluation

For children whose concerns are primarily in the area of reading, who would not need a full psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluation, we provide a battery of formal and informal assessments to understand a child’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas of need. These evaluations provide critical information on the following areas of a child’s literacy development:

  • Language and processing abilities
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Phonological awareness
  • Word identification & phonics knowledge
  • Spelling and orthography
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension

After meeting with the parent/caregiver, we determine which assessments will be the most informative. Each evaluation is specifically designed to provide a whole picture of the child’s literacy development. Typically, our Literacy Specialist meets with the child for 1 to 3 hours. Following the assessment, the evaluator provides parents/caregivers with a clinical report of the findings and instructional recommendations tailored to the child, and meets face-to-face with parents to set a plan of action for the child.

AD/HD Evaluation

While AD/HD is often a consideration in a comprehensive neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation, for some students who have already undergone some prior assessment, such as a school-based evaluation or an assessment by a pediatrician, a targeted AD/HD evaluation is often most sensible to help confirm or rule-out an AD/HD diagnosis. A thorough assessment is critical to ensure that appropriate treatments have been recommended to help reduce symptoms. An AD/HD evaluation is conducted by a psychologist or neuropsychologist and typically consists of the following:

  • A parent consultation to discuss the primary concerns, goals of the assessment, and relevant background information
  • Administration of interactive paper and pencil as well as computer tests to assess attention and executive functions
  • Completing parent, teacher, and self-report symptom rating scales
  • A parent feedback session where results, impressions, and recommendations are discussed, and a comprehensive, user-friendly written report is provided

Vocational Assessments

In addition, Sasco River Center offers many vocational/coaching-focused assessments (Lumina Spark, Aptitude Testing, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), etc.).  More information on these can be found in the Coaching Section of our services.

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